The Brent Fostering Handbook is being updated. Please do not refer to this version of the handbook.

For advice please contact:

Support and Supervision

Standards & Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:


  1. Introduction
  2. Supervision Meetings
  3. What Your Supervising Social Worker Will Do
  4. Visits by the Child's Social Worker
  5. Fostering Service Duty Team
  6. Foster Carers Support Networks
  7. Foster Talk
  8. Out of office hours support: Emergency Duty Team (EDT)

1. Introduction

The Supervising Social Worker is responsible for ensuring you have the necessary guidance and support. This will include an understanding about working within the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and all Brent’s fostering policies, procedures and guidance.

Foster carers need support and help with the difficulties that arise from the special demands of the fostering role. Fostering makes demands on the whole family and can be the cause of stress in family relationships.

Foster carers provide the first and most important supportive role to each other.

You may often find that your usual support from family and friends is not as effective as usual because confidential details cannot be shared and not everyone understands the demands of the fostering task. You are therefore encouraged to support each other (especially if you are a single carer) and through a number of different means. The allocated Supervising Social Worker, the Placement Team and other foster carers are all part of a support network.

Brent Placement Service facilitates monthly Foster Carers Support Group and six weekly Focus Groups and encourages all carers to take part, please ask your Supervising Social Worker for details.

It is the social worker for the child/young person in the foster placement who holds responsibility for specific advice or support for the child and his or her Care Plan and Placement Plan.

2. Supervision Meetings

You will also have supervision meetings once every four to six weekly or more regularly if required with your allocated Supervising Social Worker who will agree times and dates, each session will be recorded and you should receive a copy.

Supervision should be seen as a two way process to:

  • Ensure you are taking into account the child's wishes and feelings.
  • Ensure you have the opportunity to discuss any placements you have.
  • Help you to identify possible solutions to any issues.
  • Discuss any issues you may be having with your own children.
  • Ensure you understand how you contribute to Children Services objectives.
  • Give you feedback on your work to make sure you have the right skills and competencies.
  • Ensure you are accessing relevant training and resources and are working towards achieving the induction standards within a year of approval.
  • Ensure you are working within the National Minimum Standards for fostering.
  • Sort out any financial or practical issues.
  • Keep you updated about new policies, procedures, training and good practice.

The supervision meetings will be an important part of collecting information for your Annual Review as a foster carer- see Reviewing my Approvals and Appeals. The supervision session will be confidential; however, the Supervising Social Worker will discuss relevant information with the child's social worker, or other professionals working with the child or family.

As a foster carer, you are seen as a professional and both you and the Supervising Social Worker are expected to work within a framework of respect, honesty and trust.

Supervision helps you to evidence how you are developing, meeting the Training, Support and Development Standards and providing an appropriate placement for the child/young person.

If you are not happy in any way with the arrangement or content of supervision, speak to your Supervising Social Worker or a manager from the fostering service.

Your Supervising Social Worker will do one unannounced visit per year. The main purpose of the unannounced visit will be to look at the home environment that a child is living in. This visit will be recorded.

You will be provided with information about what support will be available from the fostering service outside office hours, including the contact details.

3. What Your Supervising Social Worker Will Do

Each foster carer will have an identified Supervising Social Worker independent of the children placed with them. This also includes Family and Friends approved as foster carers. If you are worried, uncertain or do not know the answer to a problem or situation you can telephone your Fostering Social Worker to discuss the situation.

These visits are to ensure that the quality of care provided to the child (ren) is within the standards required as well as to provide formal supervision within the role of an approved foster carer for Brent Council.

Supervision visits combine support, advice and guidance together with agreements on foster carer training needs. The Supervising Social Worker will also speak with the fostered child/ren and speak with them on their own. A record is completed by the Supervising Social Worker and you will be given a copy. You and the Supervising Social Worker will draw up a supervision timetable once the approval is finalised.

Supervising Social Workers will work with you and others to address and try to resolve situations of difficulty and conflict where these arise in relation to the Department.

Each foster carer will receive at least two unannounced visit per year.

Each foster carer will have an annual review. These reviews will take place; within the first year of approval and at least once a year thereafter.

The majority of visits made by your Supervising Social Worker will be made by appointment and will be to offer support and supervision. There is, however, an expectation in the Fostering Regulations that at least two unannounced visits are made to every foster home each year. A health and safety check is usually done at these visits.

4. Visits by the Child's Social Worker

The child’s social worker will make visits every 6 weeks to see you; some of these visits will be to discuss the progress of the child, to assess how contact is going, to keep you up to date with developments. The child’s social worker is also expected to do some unannounced visits. They will also routinely want to see the child on their own and will periodically ask to see the child’s bedroom.

5. Fostering Service Duty Team

There is a Fostering Service Social Worker available on the duty desk every working day between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday.

When your Supervising Social Worker is unavailable, there will be support cover provided by the Fostering team. This might mean the allocation of temporary social worker or services provided by the duty social worker.

6. Foster Carers Support Networks

See Foster Carers Support Group.

7. Foster Talk

On approval, you will receive automatic membership to ‘Foster Talk’. This is a national charitable organisation for everyone who is involved in fostering. They aim to bring people and organisations together to improve the lives of children in foster care. Foster Talk provides information, leaflets, books, guidance and support for foster carers.

This will enable you to receive additional information and support in relation to fostering and safer caring strategies and in the unfortunate event of allegations being made against them, Foster Networks can provide a helpline and independent support, including insurance and legal advice.

8. Out of office hours support: Emergency Duty Team (EDT)

Whenever the offices are closed the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) is available - Monday to Friday from 5pm to 8.30 am and Saturday / Sunday / Bank holidays - 24 hours. EDT is covered by a group of social workers who cover any emergency issues in Brent. There are times when the service is extremely busy. The team members will offer help and advice if you have a medical emergency needing consent to treatment. They will advise you on when to call the police if you have a child who has gone missing. They will also offer help if you have a problem with a contact visit such as the transport not turning up. The EDT will always be very reluctant to remove a child from your care unless there is a child protection or health and safety issue. It is always better if children can have planned moves organised by people who are known to the child.

If you do call EDT, do let us know the following day and we will offer any necessary support.